Writing Excuses Conference and Retreat 2019 – Mystery Guest Announcement!

Hello Writing Excuses Folks!

The Writing Excuses Conference and Retreat 2019 is September 13 – September 22, which is FOUR MONTHS AWAY! We’d love for you to join us, and to sweeten the pot, AN ANNOUNCEMENT.

WXR MYSTERY INSTRUCTOR

We’re delighted to announce that Cory Doctorow is our Mystery Instructor this year!

Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults, a YA graphic novel called IN REAL LIFE, the nonfiction business book INFORMATION DOESN’T WANT TO BE FREE, and young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER and novels for adults like RAPTURE OF THE NERDS and MAKERS. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.

We look forward to having him join us on our floating writing conference!

REGISTRATION AND NEW CABINS

There’s still time to register and we have been able to add more cabins! You know how excellent this conference is, so it’s no surprise to you that they have been going fast this year. Come join us again, and tell your friends, writers, family members, anyone who might enjoy a writing conference and retreat on a cruise ship (so, most people?). We have some exciting new things, like Costume Karaoke (optional!), punch cards for family members to attend some classes, and some surprises and would love to see you there!

Register here!

September will be here soon and cabins are running out quickly. Come learn from Mary Robinette, Dan, Howard, Brandon (on land) and many other excellent guests all on a CRUISE SHIP on the Caribbean!

Have any questions? Email us at writingexcusesevents@gmail.com.

14.17: It’s Like “Car Talk” meets “Welcome To Nightvale”

Your Hosts: Howard, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Dongwon

This episode is about comp titles (comparative titles), which are those things you use to describe your project in terms of other works. We discuss the ones we’ve used (both successfully and unsuccessfully), and the criteria we use to come up with good ones.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Come up with six comp titles—three for existing projects, and three for projects you may want to write. May, in fact, need to write…

A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine

14.16: Your Setting is a Telegraph

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

Your setting can quickly tell the reader what kind of a story they’re reading, and in this episode we’ll talk about how we make that happen. Think of it as the “establishing shot” principle from film making, expanded to cover whatever worldbuilding details we choose to reveal first.

Liner Notes: Here are the Schlock Mercenary Book 19 prologues Howard described, complete with the footnotes which make fun of prologues.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Write an opening. You can start from scratch, or re-open something you’re already working on. Write a half page, and with three concrete details establish the tone. Now rewrite, keeping the dialog the same, and use different details to telegraph a different tone.

Terminal Alliance, by Jim Hines

2019 Scholarship Winners

We are delighted to report that the 2019 scholarship winners have been selected!

This is a long process that we take great care with; the applicants send us a huge submission packet, complete with writing samples, letters of recommendation, and a personal essay, and each one of those is reviewed in detail by two different juries. If anyone on the jury comes across a name they know in real life, we randomize it and anonymize it and send it off to someone else to be reviewed by them instead, to keep things as fair and above-board as we possibly can.

All of the applicants were wonderful, and we loved a lot of the samples they sent us, but after a careful review and some painful decisions we’ve selected four worthy recipients:

The 2019 Out of Excuses Scholarships:

Caitlin Jacobs
Petronella Wagner

The 2019 Carl Brandon Scholarships:

Nandi Taylor
Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Huge congratulations to them, and a massive thank you to all of the other applicants. You are all amazing, and we wish you the absolute best of luck in your writing careers.

14.15: Technology

Your Hosts: Brandon, Dan, Howard, and Mahtab

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about magic systems in our worldbuilding. It’s time to talk about  science and technology in that same way. This has been a staple (perhaps the defining staple) of science fiction since before “science fiction” was a word.

At risk of opening the “where do you get your ideas” can of worms, this episode covers a little bit of where we get our ideas, and where you might get—and subsequently develop—some more of yours.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Go read Wired (or some other science and technology periodical, whether online or in print)

Feed, by M.T. Anderson

14.14: When To Tell

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard

“Show, don’t tell,” they tell us. Except sometimes showing is not always the best thing to do. Or even the right thing to do. Sometimes we should be telling. In this episode we’ll tell you about telling. (We’d show you about telling, but we still don’t have a video feed.)

Credits: This episode was recorded by Rob Kimbro, and mastered by Alex Jackson

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Pick an important scene from your work. Cut it. Now have a character transition us across where that scene used to be.

The Hobbit: The Two Hour Fan Editby Fiona van Dahl (and MGM/New Line Cinema/Wingnut Films)

WX 14.13: Obstacles vs. Complications

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

What’s the difference between an obstacle and a complication? Margaret Dunlap takes the lead on this episode for us, giving us the tools we need to create ‘impediments to main character progress’ which will drive our stories across page turns (and commercial breaks) in compelling, twisty ways.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Take an obstacle in your story, and turn it into a complication.

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

14.12: Writing The Other — Latinx Representation

Your Hosts: Dan Wells, Tempest Bradford, Dongwon Song, and Julia Rios

Julia Rios joins us to talk about writing characters who come from one of the many Latin-American cultures or subcultures. “Latinx” is a catch-all term for people with Latin-American heritage, including mixed-race people. In this episode we talk about mash-up cuisine, intersectionality, and how to navigate the subtleties to find the specific cultural elements which will help you create Latinx characters.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Bert Grimm, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Research and then write a meal scene in the POV of a person from a specific culture.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, by  Carlos Hernandez